Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday, following a trip to Kyiv to reinforce U.S. support for Ukraine in the face of a possible Russian invasion, according to a senior U.S. official.
Why it matters: The meeting with Lavrov suggests a diplomatic resolution to the crisis may still be on the table, despite the collapse of security talks between Russia and the West last week.
- “The fact that Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Secretary are meeting on Friday says to me that diplomacy is not dead,” as the Russians suggested last week, a senior State Department official told reporters on Tuesday.
- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has also invited Russia and all NATO members to a new set of meetings, stressing on Tuesday: “When tensions are high, dialogue is even more important.”
Driving the news: Blinken will meet on Wednesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy to discuss contingency planning.
- He’ll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the “Transatlantic Quad” — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.
- The State Department said Blinken’s trip is intended to reinforce the U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and is part of the administration’s diplomatic efforts to seek de-escalation and ensure a “united approach” to Russia.